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The 17th Greatest Basketball Program In The South: Louisiana State Tigers

Posted by Ryne E. Hancock on November 20, 2007

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Louisiana State Tigers

Location: Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Nickname: Tigers

Reason For Nickname: The nickname came from the Confederate unit that fought during the Civil War, the “Louisiana Tigers”.

Colors: Purple and Gold

Conference: Southeastern

Arena: Maravich Assembly Center (built 1972, capacity 13,472)

The Pride of the Bayou: Few programs can hold a candle to the list of colorful characters like LSU, who is among one of the winningest programs in the history of the SEC. The Tigers have been playing basketball since 1908 and has been a member of the SEC since its founding in 1933. LSU has been crowned champions of the SEC in 1935, 1953, 1954, 1979, 1981, 1985, 1991, 2000, and 2006 and also including an SEC Tournament crown in 1980.

Postseason Appearances: In almost 100 years of basketball in Baton Rouge, the Tigers have participated in the NCAA Tournament in 1953, 1979, 1980, 1981, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993, 2000, 2003, 2005, and 2006. Of those appearances in the Big Dance, the Tigers have gone to four Final Fours (1953, 1981, 1986, and 2006) in the process. They also have numerous trips to the NIT, with those coming in 1970, 1982, 1983, 2002, and 2004.

Coaching Legacy: LSU’s winningest coach, Dale Brown, led the Bayou Bengals to success during the late 70’s and 80’s, resulting in two trips to the Final Four. Not only that, Brown helped the Tigers to their first conference crown in 25 years by winning it all in 1979 and brought the program back to relevance. Other coaching greats in LSU basketball history include Harry Rabenhorst, who took the LSU Tigers to a pre-NCAA Tournament national championship in 1935 as well as a Final Four in 1953 and Press Maravich, who coached the Bayou Bengals through the lean years o the 1960’s and 70’s.

Big Man On Campus: When people talk about LSU basketball, three names stand out: Shaq, Pistol, and Pettit. But among the long list of players who have worn the purple and gold, no player has a greater impact on the program thanPete Maravich, who is the greatest player in the program’s history. Maravich played for LSU during the late 1960’s and played a big role in turning around the once-dormant program, helping them to a 20-8 record and a berth in the 1970 NIT Final Four where they would lose to Marquette. Today, the gym that he helped build is named in his memory, the Maravich Assembly Center.

Rivalries: LSU’s big rival on the hardwood would easily be the Alabama Crimson Tide, who like LSU has an equally strong football program as well as a strong basketball program. Notably, the rivalry has taken on a different meaning as LSU and Alabama have had a lengthy period of success in basketball over the course of the eight or nine years.

Did You Know?: While the NCAA doesn’t officially recognize the 1935 National Championship, the school still has a banner commemorating the championship by the Tigers in the Maravich Assembly Center.

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One Response to “The 17th Greatest Basketball Program In The South: Louisiana State Tigers”

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